The alarm sounds. You slowly roll over to hit the snooze, and out of instinct you grab your phone. “Just going to scroll through my Twitter or Facebook feeds to make sure I didn’t miss anything.” Before you know it, you’re rushing to the shower, grabbing a cereal bar, throwing on some clothes, yelling at the kids to put on their clothes and sprinting to school or work.
Arriving at your desk, you re-read the same emails that have been in your inbox for days but you don’t want to address. You pull up Facebook and Twitter on your browser. Maybe you SnapChat a few friends and upload a picture or two to Instagram. #newday. #blessed. You watch a few short videos on YouTube, scroll through the latest news on ESPN, CNN or FoxNews. Before you know it, two hours are gone. And you have consumed enough information to fill any normal computer’s hard drive.
Just another typical day? It is for me.
Consumed and connected. Two words that describe our culture perfectly. Smartphones place the world’s information and people’s activities at our fingertips. And we love to be informed. And we are terrified of missing something.
So, we refresh our Twitter feed … again. We check Instagram. Facebook. Pinterest. Snapchat. Email. Hoping this refresh will produce the news we are waiting for. Hoping we will stumble across a post that prompts us to text our friends and say, “Did you see what Jill wrote? Did you hear what happened to John? Did you see the final score of the Braves game?”
Combine the 24/7 connection with the demands on our time from friends, activities, family, job, co-workers and the neighbor who thinks it is his or her job to carry on a two hour conversation every time they see you. The result? Severely burned out, extremely overwhelmed, habitually anxious people.
No wonder a recent Barna study found over half of men and women felt physically or mentally overwhelmed in the last 30 days. We post our best photo hoping it goes viral. We read the latest viral post. Viral is a trendy word in social media culture. But it seems the only things consistently going viral are our stress levels.
There has to be something else, right? Something better. Surely this isn’t the life God intended. Surely. I sense it during a rare alone time. I feel it in the car when my phone dies and I am forced to deal with my thoughts. I see it when I look at my family and friends. I know my time is better spent with them, but the connection is calling. I sense something better is out there.
Maybe you feel the same.
Recently, I decided to make a change. I read some articles and looked at a few books in an attempt to find a few principles that would restore my life. And make no mistake. My life was lost. I felt completely overwhelmed. I was constantly anxious. And, at times, I bordered on depressed. But discovering a few simple but profound principles changed things for me.